As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m on compassionate leave looking after my wife and family as she recovers from major hip surgery.
It was a great blessing, then, to be able to speak at an evangelistic jazz cafe for some of my friends at Bessacarr Evangelical Church last week (thanks to those who came to cover for me at home!). Working with students, I sadly don’t often get to bring evangelistic messages to inter-generational groups – and there was the added bonus of getting out of the house and breaking routine for a few hours. It was a lovely event – great music, good food, well-attended and an easy atmosphere in which to bring a gospel message.
The title I was given was ‘Can we be secure in a world of insecurity?’ I actually found it quite a challenging message to prepare – first of all in helping my hearers appreciate their own vulnerabilities, then pointing them towards Jesus as the one who offers true security. After batting around a number of passages, I eventually focused on the account of Jesus stilling the storm.
Here’s a sample from the message – and you can read the whole thing here.
But how does this historical account speak into our theme of where we might find security in a world of insecurity? Isn’t it this? That we live in a universe that really is a dangerous place. Though our planet and its people are in many ways wonderful, there is much that really can harm us. In the story, the threat comes from wind, wave and storm. We might add the threats to our lives from floods, droughts, earthquakes, fires, germs, cancers, viruses and epidemics. We might also add the more subtle threats from mental illness and financial pressure. And that’s before we even factor in the rash or unthoughtful actions of the world’s powerful people. We are constantly surrounded by forces beyond our control, which threaten to rob us of that’s which is precious to us, even our lives. And the truth is that, sooner or later, they may threaten to destroy us.
But do you see that comfort that Christians draw from the stilling of the storm? We’re not meant to think that Jesus would never allow any of those who are his to perish through drowning, or through any other natural disaster. Many Christians die in these ways every year. But what it does indicate is that Jesus really is Lord of the physical forces of the universe. It shows that nothing happens by accident. And it shows that nothing can destroy God’s purposes for us if we belong to Jesus. Let me tell you: that makes all the difference in the world. You might ask your Christian friend the difference that’s made in their life, as they’ve prepared to go under the knife, or been willing to put themselves in a situation of real danger. And they’ll tell you the story of how they’ve found that Jesus hasn’t been asleep on them in their hour of need.